When is a bathroom not a bathroom?


This is a bathroom

When it’s in Coopers Union, New York, that’s when. At that particular college they haven’t yet worked out what to call simple basic spaces.

What is a Restroom, come to that?  Or a Half Bath, which for some reason is just that, never a Half Bathroom? No wonder they are getting their knickers in a twist.

The picture above is a photo of a bathroom, in which there is a water closet, a bathtub, a wash hand basin and a shower. If there were neither water closet nor shower it would still be a bathroom. If there were no bathtub and only a shower it would be a shower room. If it had a lock on the door to ensure privacy it would be available for anyone who wished to use it. Before we went mad for “en suites” that was how it was in any hotel that I can remember and still is in many B & Bs.

For some reason in the USA they like to make things more complicated by using very loose nomenclature.

As reported in The Guardian this morning “the Cooper Union administration this month moved to remove the gender designations from all the bathrooms on campus by taking down the rest of the men’s and women’s signage from bathrooms.”

“A public facility shouldn’t have to ask if you’re a man or a woman,” said Rio Sofia, one of the students. “It should just ask, do you need to pee or poop?”

I’ve lived in the States and I can’t remember a public facility ever asking me anything at all let alone anything quite so intimate.

The interim President of Cooper Union lamented that he couldn’t change the way the world treats transgender and gender non-conforming people but he said “I can change the Cooper Union environment to help everyone feel safe when they are inside our buildings.” Mind you, he calls these talkative public facilities “Restrooms”. That might imply that they are for rest and relaxation—they’re not. They are loos. Bathrooms, in this context, are loos. Half Baths—no baths; just a loo. You think that’s complicated? Just wait.

Cooper Union has ordered new signs to save students any confusion. Some will read “restroom with urinal and stalls” and others will read “restroom with only stalls”, which at least makes it clear you can’t have a bath in any of them! Students can also now use “single-occupancy bathrooms” that were formerly set aside for faculty of whatever gender, though not for bathing. Activist students began this protest by tearing down the existing signs and writing “Degendered” on the doors, which at least didn’t say it was a bathroom when it wasn’t.

The encouraging thing is that The Guardian reports that most of the students haven’t even noticed. They are more concerned about a tuition crisis in the college, which indicates that common sense still prevails amongst the majority.


Universal Sign to enable American Tourists to feel safe

How to get attention




After the Brussels’ horror here is some light relief.

Whilst looking for a pasta recipe the other night I came across a “Noodle” blog. For your information, this has absolutely nothing to do with any sort of pasta but is a blog devoted to photos of a miniature long haired dachshund called Noodle. What I found amazing is the fact that Noodle has 22,000 followers.

So, I am posting this photo of a standard long haired dachshund called Archie. I am devoted to him but I can’t understand why even as many as 22 other people would be interested in him. However, if pictures of cute animals attract followers I ‘m happy to give it a go. So here is Archie drying off after a swim in Llyn Crafnant.

I am going away for a week so I hope you all have a truly joyful Easter Sunday and a good holiday and I will back in April to continue my rants.

God bless you.


Riding a Donkey

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Donkey and Foal

Just a little thought for the day.

Did anyone else watch “Dr Thorne”? Three one hour programmes on ITV at 9 PM on Sundays, ‘written’ by Julian Fellowes. Perhaps it did owe quite a lot to Downton Abbey but I enjoyed it despite my initial reservations. After the travesty of “War and Peace” I viewed the idea of Dr Thorne reduced to 3 hours with grave suspicion. This was one of my set books for English A-level in those far off days when you had to read the entire book more than once, in order to pass, let alone get a good mark.

It was the book that introduced me to Trollope – Anthony, rather than Joanna – and the whole wide, wonderful world of Barsetshire. Inevitably the story had to be told with broad brush strokes which meant so many of the subtleties were missing.

And there was one inaccuracy that was jarring to me as I thought over the whole production. Perhaps it struck me more powerfully because it was Palm Sunday. In the book Mary Thorne did not ride a horse, she rode a donkey. No wonder the Courcy Castle crowd despised her. It’s a pity the producers changed that detail; I wonder why. It’s a very powerful symbol, but I suppose, these days it’s probably a symbol that few people would notice.

I apologise for ……

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Here’s what to do when you get caught short in a VIP box at Cheltenham Races. The lady presumably hoped to distract the attention of the photographers.

….. these disgusting photos of Footballers and Wags and Celebrities.

However, if you pay people silly money you get silly behaviour, and if you pay people obscene amounts of money, you get this sort of obscene behaviour.

Not every footballer gets Rooney’s rumoured £300,000 a week to kick a ball around, but many are earning over £10m a year, presumably because we think they are worth it.

Junior doctors—the ones the row is about—start at around  £23,000 (that’s a year, not a week) rising to £30,000 as their training proceeds. Just like footballers, that includes Saturdays, but unlike footballers, they also work nights.

Newly qualified teachers start around £22,000 pa, with yearly increases to £33,000, with the average for a Primary School teacher standing at £24,001 in September last year. They’re the people responsible for instilling in your child a love of learning, an understanding of discipline and a sound foundation for their future working lives.

Some years ago, after working in the City, my son went back to University for a fourth year in order to become a Maths teacher. I remember him telling me that if he got his next yearly increment he’d be earning in a year what Rooney earned in a week. Today, my son’s salary is probably closer to what some of those men above earn in a day!

Still, if we pay people outrageous amounts, treat them like heroes, ignore their misdemeanours and gloss over their crimes why should we be surprised when they treat us like the fools we are.



On Thursday my husband shot the squirrel. It was a clean shot to the head; his death was instantaneous. And as this is the country he then made a good meal for either a buzzard or a red kite. Those birds that feed on carrion have slim pickings these days, now that the carcass of a sheep must be removed immediately. I shan’t have time to miss the squirrel’s perky personality however, because, as I write, four of his relatives are cavorting around the bird feeders. I doubt they’re mourning the Bully Boy.

There’s one major problem with squirrels. No matter how sweet they may look and no matter how amusing their antics, they do enormous damage.



These tubs were empty last year. The squirrels and mice between them had dug up and eaten every single bulb!

By stripping the bark, squirrels managed to destroy all 25 of my silver birches over a period of five or six years, thus depriving me of the beauty of one of the most elegant of trees, and a flock of reed warblers of a nightly feast and a roost. I still walk round the wood but the reed warblers have never returned.

The grey squirrels were imported from the eastern United States in the 1870s to an estate in Cheshire. Presumably, whoever brought them here had more money than sense and wanted to impress his neighbours. He surely can’t have had any idea what he was unleashing into the wild. Since then they have driven out almost all our native red squirrels, which now exist only in Scotland and on Anglesey.

And while we’re talking about endangered species, as a Lenten exercise, whenever you have a cup of tea or coffee in the next week, would you please remember Dairy Farmers who, at the moment, are being paid a mere 15p a litre for their milk.

My Squirrel, the Activist



Look Mum, no hands!

What’s the difference between an Activist and my favourite squirrel? Not a lot. He’s certainly extraordinarily active, he has fearsomely sharp teeth, he’s a bit of a bully and he’s amazingly persistent. He will go on and on and on until he gets through to the peanuts, or he has completely wrecked the feeder.

I’m afraid my squirrel also has many other traits in common with activists. I’m not just referring to the LGBT etc. activists who make it regularly on to blogs like mine, thus getting me labelled homophobic. (Name calling is one thing my squirrel can’t do). He is utterly convinced he is right and he is in the right. No argument! He views with suspicion anything bigger than a blue tit, but I assume, given the speed with which he chases away all other birds, that he is also secretly afraid. Finally he can be down right vicious, especially to other squirrels.

I suppose, unlike grey squirrels, which were imported from America, activists have always been around, but recently they’ve refined their tactics so effectively that we’re all afraid of them—and not without good reason.

A consultant at a Sheffield Hospital objected to a surgeon who was preparing to operate while wearing the hijab despite the strict dress code in an operating theatre. Like my squirrel seeing off the birds the Muslim surgeon stayed; it was the consultant who was suspended.

Here’s another story of kinky sex surveys, this time in a civilised country town, Andover, in New Hampshire, US. Undergraduates from the local university “administered” a survey that asked questions like the following:

Screenshot 2016-03-08 14.49.41.pngOne thing’s for sure—they can’t have the explicit sex education that we give to 7-year-olds over here or they wouldn’t need the terminology explained.

This happened during a break during the school day, unsupervised by school staff, unknown by parents and administered with bribes in the shape of cookies and cake.

Further questions included:

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Just in case you’ve forgotten let me remind you this is a survey of children! That last question worried some lawyers. Although the survey is supposedly anonymous the children were asked so many personal questions, such as first and middle initials, date of birth and grades, it will be only too easy to identify individuals in the future. Answer ‘Yes’ to questions 22 and 23 and you could be in trouble a few years down the line.

I’m not suggesting that the students conducting the survey were squirrels but I do suspect that it was Activists who put them up to it.

There is one big difference with my squirrel—he’s got a great sense of humour! His one saving grace is that he enjoys a joke and will show off for me because he knows I like a good laugh too. And that’s one of the big problems with activists of all sorts. They take themselves so hideously seriously. If they could only lighten up a little, beaming with joy occasionally, not being so hideously self-righteous, they would be so much easier to cope with. If they did that they might also find that although we don’t take ourselves so desperately seriously we can, in fact, debate intelligently, quietly, tolerantly and cheerfully in a way that is fruitful and productive and gets somewhere.

I’ve said before I am quite certain God has a sense of humour. Nor would Jesus have been asked to nearly so many parties if He’d been an arrogant, self-centred tub-thumper with no shred of humour. He loved good conversation, amusing stories, funny jokes and a good glass of wine. He could certainly teach Activists a thing or two.



Number Crunching

One in five MPs think membership of the House of Commons should be reduced, which should make uncomfortable reading for the SIX Welsh bishops.CinW1.jpg

Trawling the web has failed so far to reveal how many people attended church when these gentlemen were our bishops but the numbers were very many more then than now.

Wikipedia, which admittedly one must treat with care, says that in the seven years between 2007 and 2014 the Church in Wales lost 16,000 members. The latest figures for 2014 give average attendance as 36,525.

The Bishop of this Diocese needs 16 admin staff to help do whatever he does, and many others, such as the woman in charge of World Development and World Mission. Given his support and advocacy of SSM I’m not sure which bit of the world would welcome his contribution.

One of the joys of trawling the web is that interesting little titbits pop up to give me a laugh. Today I discovered that a Committee was set up in Wales to encourage co-operation between Anglicans and members of Free Churches. It didn’t seem to get anywhere. It was entitled “Enfys”, Welsh for Rainbow! Ooooops!

Then and Now

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Same view, but colder!

“The civilised communities of Europe were disintegrating. Hordes from the East were spreading their particular brand of death and destruction ever further westwards. The church was being torn apart by unrest, politics and deep theological divisions.”

Sound familiar? But that situation is not 2016; it’s describing Europe almost 1600 years ago. It was the Roman Empire that had collapsed and the hordes were Huns.

The encouraging thing is that it was into this turbulent time that St Benedict was born. It is nevertheless a world we can recognise which is perhaps why his Rule still has relevance today.

Well, that thought should cheer us up a bit.

Something else to cheer about is the Archbishops’ Wake Up call. “Thy Kingdom Come”—a great wave of prayer, including round-the-clock prayer marathons, during the week before Pentecost. Well, Halleluiah, say I. What’s more I’m sure ++Justin and ++John will pull it off.

Remember the doom and gloom before the Primates meeting? It was predicted, with, I suspect, a certain amount of glee, that dozens were going to leave the meeting fairly early on, and those left would squabble and fight and blab to the media. In fact, only one Primate left and all the other Archbishops behaved like the Christian gentlemen they are, with tolerance, generosity and respect and with not a single tub-thumping activist to be seen.

There’ll be hurdles and obstacles, of course, put in our way. Political Correctness and Secularism have already pushed the Church of England well down the plughole. The latest example of this is the demand for a woman to have the right to abort a baby for any reason and as late into pregnancy as she likes. So much for the sanctity of life. How long before murder is legalised if you can prove good reason—like “I want his biscuit.” Even arrogant, selfish elements within the church have done their best to ensure the baby goes out with the bath water.

There’s not much evidence of freedom of religion any more, either. Be choosey about the icing on your cake for religious reasons and you risk losing your bakery. Of course, religious freedom does rather depend on which religion. For some reason, Christianity seems always to be bottom of the heap.

Admittedly, even if another St Benedict were to be born this year it would be a long time before anyone noticed. Fortunately, with God we can have faith that anything is entirely possible. In the meantime we’d better pull our socks up. If we’re going to join this great wave of prayer we can no longer be apathetic, lethargic, depressed or hopeless. We need to pray with faith and fervour that, though there may be no tongues of flames on our heads, at least our hearts will be set on fire to answer this Wake Up call.